1) Introduction: 
 
            Article 324 of the Indian Constitution provides for the appointment of an Election Commission to superintend, direct and control elections. The election commission is an independent autonomous body, and the Constitution ensures, as in the case of the Supreme Court and the High Courts, that it may be able to function freely without any executive interference.

             The Commission is an all India body having jurisdiction over election to Parliament, State legislature, offices of the President and Vice President. The constitution of one central body, the Election Commission, is having control over the entire election process in the country having control over the entire election process in the country, is done to prevent injustice, which could be done by regional. State Governments, discriminating against any section of the people in the matters relating to elections.
         
2) Constitution of Election Commission:

                   Constitution of Election Commission Article 324(2) provides that the Election Commission shall consist of the Chief Election Commissioner and such number of other Election commissioners, if a, as the president may from time to time fix. Until parliament makes any law in that behalf, the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners are appointed by the President. When any other Election Commissioner is so appointed the Chief Election Commissioner shall act as the chairman of the election commission. The president may also appoint, after consultation with the Election Commission, such regional Commissioners as he may consider necessary to assist the Election Commission in the performance of its functions. The conditions of service and tenure of office of the Election Commissioners and the regional commissioners shall be such as the President may by determine. These rules, however, are subject to any law made by Parliament in this respect.

 Chief Election Commissioner vis-à-vis other Election Commissioners 

                          Proviso to Article 324(5) says that the chief Election Commissioner shall not be removed from his office expect in like manner and on like grounds as a judge of Supreme Court and the conditions of service of the Chief Election Commissioner shall not be varied to his disadvantage after his appointment.
It is thus clear that Election Commissioners do not hold the same position as does the chief election commissioner. While the CEC is the creation of the Constitution, the number of other Election Commissioners is determined by the President. While the CEC can be removed from his office in the manner provided in the provision to Article 324 (5), the Other commissioners hold their office during the pleasure of the President, subject to any law made by Parliament in this regard. A, while the conditions of service CEC cannot be varied to his disadvantage, the conditions of service of other the Commissioners are determined by President by rule, subject to any law made by Parliament in this regard.



In S.S Dhannoa vs.Union of India AIR 1991 SC 1745. 

                           The Supreme Court held that election Commissioners cannot be placed on a par with the Chief Election Commissioner in terms of power and authority. The Court dismissed the petition of Mr S. S. Dhannoa, challenging his removal from the post. Holding that the removal of the two E. Cs. were 'not a case of premature termination of service' but it was a case of the abolition of the posts with termination of service as a consequence. Hence the termination of service was not Open challenge on ground of illegality. The Court said that the protection available to C.E.C. were not available either to the Election Commissioners or the regional Commissioners and their conditions of service can be varied even to their disadvantage.
   

  4) Multi Member Election Commissioner

                    The decision to have a multi member Commission was prompted by the Ruling of the Supreme Court in the S.S. Dhannaoa vs. Union of India case where it had observed that when an institution like the Election Commission is entrusted with the vital functions and is armed with exclusive and uncontrolled powers to execute them, it is both necessary and desirable that the powers are not exercised by one individual, however, wise he may be. It all-conforms to the tenets of Democratic rule.

                   On 2 October 1993 the Government issued an Ordinance and converted the one man Election Commission into a multi member Commission by appointing two persons as Election Commissioners.

      

 5) Functions of Election Commission

                             According to Section 324(1) the election Commission performs the following functions: The superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of the electoral rolls and also the conduct of elections to Parliament, State legislatures and to the offices of President and Vice President.


     6) Independence of Election Commission 

                       The constitution envisages setting up of a independent, autonomous Election Commission. To secure independence of action Article 324 contains the following provisions, A) that the CEC shall not be removed from his office except in the like manner and on the like Grounds as a Judge of Supreme Court. B) that the conditions of services of the CEC shall not be varied to his disadvantage after his appointment. The CEC is, therefore, protected against political and executive influence and for that reason , he can discharge his functions without fear, favour of pressure from the executive or the party in power. Even the tenure of office of other Election Commissioners and the regional Commissioners is also free of the executive control in so far, none of them can be removed from office except on the recommendation of CEC. This check on the executive's power to safeguard the Independence of not only these functionaries but the Election Commission as a body.

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